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>> When Omar Mateen entered that Orlando night club on Sunday night, he was armed with a weapon that's turned up in a number of other mass shootings as well, an AR-15 style assault rifle.
m Andy Sullivan in Washington, where lawmakers have debated for years whether these types of weapons should be available to the public.
So the Orlando shooting, which is the deadliest in U.S. history, is certain to bring assault rifles to the fore again and revive this debate. The AR-15 derives from a military weapon, the M-16, which was first developed by the U.S. military for use in the Vietnam conflict. One important difference is that the weapons that are sold to consumers are semi-automatic.
You have to press the trigger every time you wanna fire a bullet. Congress outlawed assault rifles and large-capacity magazines between 1994 and 2004. But they let the ban lapse at that point. Democrats have tried to resuscitate it several times since then but they've consistently fallen short. Now the AR 15 is responsible for a small fraction of the 30,000 or so annual US gun deaths.
But they have been showing up more frequently in recent years in many of these mass shootings which have grabbed headlines. Notably, they were used in the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut. Shooter Adam Lanza used an assault rifle to kill 28 adults and children. They were used by the killers in San Bernardino and in the Aurora, Colorado attack as well.
Gun control activists say that these are weapons of war, that their increased lethality makes them uniquely dangerous and that's why they should be banned.
w, the firearms industry says that the so-called assault rifles are just basically a modern version of a rifle. Like others, they are derived from military weapons.
They just use more modern components. We probably will not see any significant change in our laws this year. That could change when we have a new president and a new Congress next year.